Dr Claudius van Wyk
September 14, 2013
Holism and Evolution in the 21st Century
It was Smuts expressed conviction that a time would come when a true holistic and integrative approach to science would emerge. He believed that the compartmentalization of science into separate disciplines created both limitations to knowledge and understanding, and the ability to deal with some of the world's most intractable problems. This he paritally attributed to Descartes so-called dichotomy of the measurable quantifiable world 'res extensa', from the non-measurable qualitative world 'res cogitans'. He argued that rather than matter, life and mind being seen as separate domains they should be seen as greater emergent wholes based on a greater complexification that consequently interpenetrated and informed each other. Now with the advent of whole systems thinking and complexity science as the study of complex adaptive systems increasingly Smuts' intuitions and observations are being validated to the extent that a new 'holistic science is emerging as he predicted. This book might still come to be seen as one of the most important of the 20th century. I give it four stars rather than five due to it's lack of rigorous editing - well aware that it was rushed into print after being dashed out in record time during his parliamentary recess.